Background: IL-9 might play a critical role in pathogenesis and development of atopic asthma, but there are few reports on allergen-specific IL-9 production by peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) obtained from adult asthmatics. Methods: PBMCs were obtained from adult atopic asthmatics and incubated with Dermatophagoides farinae(Der f) extract for the designated time periods. The resulting supernatants were assayed for IL-9 by specific sandwich ELISA. Results: IL-9 production was detectable on day 2 and reached maximum on day 6 after stimulation of PBMCs with Der f extract. IL-9 production in response to Der f extract increased in a dose-dependent manner. CD2- or CD4-bearing cell depletion completely abolished IL-9 production by PBMCs, while CD8-bearing cell depletion did not affect it. Conclusion: CD4+ lymphocytes are the principal source of IL-9 produced by PBMCs of adult atopic asthmatics.

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